The OF Blog: Purview, Part II

Friday, January 02, 2009

Purview, Part II

Time for a few more Best of 2008 links to other sites, with some commentary:

Bibliophile Stalker - Charles' s Top 5 for 2008 - Charles A. Tan (aka, Satan) has a very nice and varied blog going, including one of the best interview series for the year. Again, like most others, his list isn't 2008-exclusive, but it certainly is a nice one. I've read 4 out of the 5 short stories he highlights (and I am happy to see some love given to Tim Pratt's first collection, Small Gods). For anthologies (yay coverage of those!), he praises the Ann and Jeff VanderMeer guest-edited (and Matthew Cheney series-edited) Best American Fantasy from 2007, which was perhaps my favorite 2007 anthology. John Joseph Adams' zombie-themed The Living Dead also merits attention (and I hope to finish reading that one later this month). Will purchase Cone Zero in the near future. Also read 4 out of the 5 short story collections highlighted, each of them strong efforts (and three of them making my own list for 2008). Read 3 out of the 5 novels he singles out and two of them (the Mamatas selection came out in 2007) made my own list. As for his "Everything Else" section, if I had something similar, I would have praised Janet Chui and Jason Erik Lundberg's A Field Guide to Surreal Botany, and of course Zoran Živković's Twelve Collections and the Tea Shop is simply a must-read book (as if his other books aren't must-reads as well, but still, this one was a really strong collection and was a finalist for the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award). So far, it seems that Charles and I have a lot of favorite 2008 books in common, more so than I share with other bloggers, I suspect.

Fantasy Cafe - Favorites of 2008 (plus a guest post over at The Book Smugglers)
- Kristen's blog is fairly new (I believe a little over a year old), and like the others from Part I, she mostly includes books published before 2008 as well as 2008 releases. Similar to Joe Sherry's list, she gives quite a bit of praise to Elizabeth Bear (whose works I thought were solid, enjoyable fare this year) and Sarah Monette (whose The Doctrine of Labyrinths series has been a favorite of mine for almost three years now). I see she's also discovered Frank Herbert's Dune, now to wait and see if she'll attempt reading his son's collaborative works. Sadly, no mention of her reading of Thomas Disch's Camp Concentration was to be found in her favorite reads.

Fantasy Debut - 2008 Favorite Debuts - For close to two years now, Tia Nevitt has run an interesting, pretty unique blog devoted to covering new debuts and just debuts. It is only fitting that her 2008 favorites be devoted strictly to books that debuted in 2008. Not only does she look at the debuts she read (a few were 2007 debuts, such as Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind), but she also looks at favorite characters in those novels. I am glad to see that she chose Jo Graham's Black Ships as her favorite Historical Fantasy Debut (and I'm wondering if she too has received a review copy of Graham's second book, Hand of Isis). She also gives more coverage to Urban Fantasies than I or most other (particularly the males) bloggers have done, so for those who want to see who the rising writers are in that rapidly-growing subgenre are, I would say reading her blog ought to help quite a bit.

Graeme's Fantasy Book Review - Another Big Fat End of the Year Post (and a guest post over at The Book Smugglers) - Graeme Flory is a UK-based blogger and he chose 11 2008 releases (including one that's actually a January/February 2009 release) for his year's favorites. I've read 6 out of those 11 (plus I own copies of two more) and for the most part, I liked those books, although I certainly wasn't as impressed with Abercrombie's third book as I was with his second. There are a few more books listed over at his guest column, but for the most part, I haven't yet read those, particularly Richard Morgan's fantasy trilogy opener, The Steel Remains. List is a bit series-heavy, but otherwise it is composed of some decent to good books.

Grasping for the Wind - GFTW's Best of the Year, 2008 - John Ottinger's blog has been around for a couple of years and like many others, he chose a Top 10 list that would be of overall reads and not just 2008 releases. I have read 3 out of his 10, own a couple of others, read Finlay's story in shorter form a few years ago, and am curious about a couple of others. Nice to see the Wastelands anthology on there, even though it wasn't my #1 choice in that category (but it was quite good, as I believe I stated in passing in my review of my anthology reads).

Neth Space - 2008 in Review - Ken is a fellow moderator at wotmania (even if I just went on an indefinite hiatus there, meaning he's one of two that'll make the OF section for which this blog is named even better than before) and his list contains a mixture of 2008 and pre-2008 releases. He is one of the few I see who chose Scott Bakker's Neuropath for one of 2008's best reads. Much as I like Bakker's work, can't say that one was a favorite of mine (then again, a re-read after two years likely hurt my reaction to that near future thriller/exposition on how free will might well be an illusion). Read 7 out of his 10 selections and outside of the one exception noted above, I enjoyed those as well. Still think he's cheating by putting a 2009 release on that list (although to be fair, it's an early favorite to be one of the few epic fantasies to make my likely 2009 list).


OK, going to be doing these in groups of 5-7, I believe. If you think I might somehow miss your blog's Best of 2008/Favorites for 2008/etc. list (I'm mostly going through my blogroll, with a couple of exceptions to blogs I somehow forgot to add to it, like Charles's and Kristen's), feel free to provide a link in the comments and I'll read through it and add it to a future section.

9 comments:

E. L. Fay said...

Hi Larry. I really enjoyed going through the year-end lists. It was really neat to see what other readers consider the best/worst of 2008.

I did mine a few days ago. It's a motley mix of speculative fiction, international literature, a bit of general fiction, and one great memoir about a coyote. (You'll have to forgive the swear word at the end, but I really hated Twilight.)

Larry said...

Cool! I'll read it in a bit and add it to my third installment! And curse words don't bother me...really, they don't ;)

Kristen said...

Thanks for including my list! The blog is actually 2 years old this month, although I gradually got it set up and didn't do a whole lot with it until toward the end of 2007 (and posted more than twice as much in 2008). I'd rather forget about some of those earlier reviews anyway.

As for the later collaborative Dune works, I'll be skipping those.

While Camp Concentration was interesting and I am glad I read it, I can't honestly say it was one of my favorites so it's not on the list (other than the list of all reviews from 2008).

Larry said...

I knew it was sometime in 2007, but I wasn't for sure when, thus my fudging on your blog's age. And hey, we can ignore what I posted here 2004-2006, right? ;)

The Disch comment was a wink-and-a-nod sort of in-joke, of course :P By the way, be sure to bug Joe Sherry sometime - he's the one choosing the next book, so perhaps we'll find out soon what sort of craziness awaits? ;)

gav (nextread.co.uk) said...

Here is mine just in you want to include it.

Larry said...

OK, I'll add it in a bit, Gav.

Mark Chitty said...

It's great to see this sort of thing, most blogs seem to just have links to best of lists and seeing some commentary is a nice change. I must admit that I'm hanging on until later in the month to try and get them all in one post myself!

Kristen said...

It's a deal - ignore my 2007 reviews and I'll pretend 2004 - 2006 here did not exist. ;)

I look forward to finding out what the next Blogger Book Club selection is. Now that December is over, maybe I'll even have time to read it.

Graeme Flory said...

Hi Larry,

Thanks for the link! I wasn't sure whether to include 'The Judging Eye' or not (with its 2009 release date) but then I thought, 'the hell with it, I read it in 2008...' ;o)

Cheers,

Graeme

 
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